UNITED NATIONS, April 22, 2009 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka must surrender and allow civilians trapped in the battle zone to leave, the UN Security Council president said Wednesday. “We demand that the LTTE immediately lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow a UN-assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians in the conflict area, and join the political process,” Claude Heller, of Mexico, told journalists after an informal Security Council meeting.
The council president, speaking on behalf of the 15 members, said they “strongly condemned the LTTE, a terrorist organization, for the use of civilians as human shields and for not allowing them to leave the area.”
He said that council members also insisted that the Sri Lankan government abide by international humanitarian law on allowing aid access to refugees.
The meeting was not a formal session of the Security Council and the president’s statements were non-binding.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is fighting to stave off defeat by Sri Lankan government troops after being pushed to a narrow stretch of coastal jungle. Thousands of civilians are trapped in the war zone.
The Tigers, who have been fig